Patients who visit the emergency departments in Taranaki hospitals with medical needs not considered urgent will be sent to a GP.
EDs are running at capacity and should be kept for emergencies only, Taranaki DHB clinical services manager Gill Campbell said.
"Taranaki Base Hospital and Hawera Hospital EDs are seeing a large number of patient visits that could be better managed in primary care by GPs and nurses."
People should go to the ED if they have chest pain, increased shortness of breath, have symptoms of a stroke, have experienced a significant fall, or have had a serious accident requiring urgent medical attention, she said.
Taranaki DHB and Midland Health Network, the network of 99 per cent of GPs in Taranaki, are working together to ensure patients are seen in the best place so they receive the best care.
"If a patient comes into ED and would be better seen by a GP, staff will assist them to go back to general practice."
ED staff will make an appointment for the patient to be seen or direct them to a general practice.
Midland Health Network Taranaki liaison lead Pauline Cruikshank said patients redirected to the ED overflow service for an appointment on the same day would pay only their usual GP fee.
- Taranaki Daily News
What's your expectation of former tropical cyclone Pam?Related story: Cyclone Pam hits New Zealand
Get Taranaki's frequent news and sport updates
Get your mid week news fix
Get your South Taranaki news online